Updated: Aug 3
Trāṭaka Exercise 2
Now, from that steady focus on their outer shape, Breath with this curiosity and refine the focus again, this time with X-ray eyes into the shape of their skeleton. Easier if they are thin and more so if you have studied skeletons but what really refines this ability to see is to actually get your hands on a body to hold and feel their bones inside their outer shape. And gradually seeing their skeleton becomes easier just like scanning for external curves, fashion or an attractive face.
This skeletal shape called “posture”, the way our bones stack up while standing in gravity, is a snapshot of the freedom and stiffness patterns our body. Easier to see standing but posture displays a lot more information when we move, walk and even more when we salut the sun (a later post). Seeing posture (palpation from a distance) is quick and easy requiring little if any negotiation for consent. So keep practicing these trataka skills, because as we get into the deeper evaluation tools available with the "hands on contact" of Palpation, our trataka skills will grow along with it.
So let's take a look at the two basic extreme pathologies of Posture (take note of the capitol P)
OVERBOUND POSTURE UNDERBOUND
As you look at these extremes of posture, guide your dirsthi to the pelvis. Now keep the pelvis as the bullseye, broaden your peripheral focus and you can begin to see that the pelvic tilt is actually the center of a greater more holistic expression of Pelvic tilt. Structurally, this holistic expression of the pelvis, Bramha Granthi includes the femurs below and the lumbar spine above the center of the pelvis. See the difference in the tilts of Overbound and Underbound Postures? Then, you might get a hit (faint internal feel) what your pelvic tilt is?
POSTERIOR TILT ANTERIOR
GANGSTA BOOTY GHETTO
Making First Contact
Palpation is basically Exploratory Touch that we will first apply to the skeleton. Working deeper and exposing greater detail than seeing, palpation will tune your visual skills to deeper and more expansive levels by giving a reality check to what you see. So let's get your hands on your pelvis.
Palpation Exercise 1
The Crest of the Ilium
Take the palms of your hands and squeeze them into the soft part of your waste and press down on the big ridge of bone you feel there. This is the crest of your left and right Ilium. Feel it with your palms then start pressing your fingers on and around it. As your fingers get familiar with feeling the crest, start moving them forward along the crest and feel for the end. Your fingers will fall over the edge and down the front of it. This bony landmark is called the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine or ASIS for short. Once you get a good feel for this boney landmark, bring your palms back to the center of the crest. Now start feeling the crest with your thumbs and start moving them backwards along the crest of the ilium until you feel it drop off. Farther around back then the ASIS was in front, you’ll notice this bony landmark is thicker, a long vertical ridge of bone called the Posterior Iliac Spine. As you palpate the vertical length of this ridge of bone, you’ll notice it has top and bottom. Relatively these are called the Posterior Superior Iliac Spine and the Posterior Inferior Iliac Spine. Let your thumbs get a good feel, then keeping them there, again bring your palms back to the center of the crest and, if your hands are big enough, extend your fingers forward to get a hold of the entire crest of the ilium. Now you have the big handles of the pelvis, the crests of the left and right ilium in your hands and we will use this fuondational contact to evaluate the tilt of our foundation of Posture, the pelvis. Practice this for a few minutes a few times a day and it will become a “no brainer” palpation that you can easily build upon.
Already sensing how your pelvis is Tilted?
Also, If you get really comfortable with this palpation, no need to wait, show it to a friend or student and get them started. :-)
Questions and comments in the FB post work best, see ya there.